Been a while…

Been a while between posts, #Datanerds… Did you miss me? And my random musings?? Oh so much to say, so little time.

First- Promotion.  Now officially over Retail Systems.  I find myself telling people to reboot often. Last week told my daughter to reboot both her phone and the toaster.  Both worked.

Next- State of Data in the world.  Lots of companies sending mad SPAM about how they can help me sift data, optimize supply chains, and vice versa.  Cant wait to see them all at NRF.  Tempting to make appointments then actually SHOW UP. That’d teach them. But seriously, vendors-I-have-never-heard-of- STOP.  I’ll find you.

Travel- Heading to NYC, Maryland, and Miss all in next 8 days.  Whirlwind tour.

NRF- EVERY damn vendor wants to do a Monday night event.  Thank god for #EKN and being smart enough to do a Saturday night, YES!!
Speaking of, looking forward to Retail Orphan ROI SuperSaturday event! Click for details: Great charity, great people.
Also, seeing my favorite Greek Twins is a worth the trip alone.

Saturday night- Pats game same time as dinner???? That’s two years in a row. Might have to talk to organizers.  Or punish them with an Epic Macallen bar-tab. And, bad news- one of my favorite drinking buddies will be in attendance.  Oh dear.

Best part of next week? When my worlds collide.  Panel event with @sahiranand and @caswindy from #Revionics? That’s a cant miss event.  Rock&Roll Retail is part of Revionics Dinner— and an RIS News event??? STOP THE MADNESS!!! And… @MarcHaf ripping some Tunes???

Powerman 500:
“What is it really
That’s going on here
You’ve got your system for total control
Now is there really anybody out there
Now watch us suffer cause we can’t go
What is it really that is in your head
What little life that you had just died
I’m gonna be the one that’s taking over
Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide”

Ah more to follow, and I wont wait 8 weeks between these next time~~
Until, I am, and will be,
THAT Planning Guy

Failure of Data

Without going into political views and what this election means,   I think that the biggest question is HOW did the experts (and damn near everyone)  get the predictions so vastly wrong? 

All the polling,  all the exit interviews,  all the preconceived notions and opinions were dead wrong.  

My opinion is that the data gathering was flawed,  and therefore the conclusions wrong. 

If you query the wrong datasets,  you get the wrong answers.  Pretty simple.  The process needs to be revamped . Maybe the same way polls have been done in the past are no longer valid. Stop calling me already. 

Though it is really funny  watching experts look completely shell shocked.  

-That Planning Guy 

Smart people

I attended a lot of conferences in the last few years.  I think I enjoy surrounding myself with smart people,  and the best in the industry- at whatever their function.  Planners,  pricing,  research,  retail consultants.   Be the best. 

This week,  I am attending #RevionicsInsight  and expect the  same.  Rooms full smart people  doing  amazing things. 

I enjoy time with my team for the same reason:hand picked as the  best and brightest.   

If you dont surround yourself with the best,  how can you ever grow?

Success breeds success. 

-That Planning Guy 


Ran into one of my favorite people this morning whom I hadn’t seen in several years.  Was absolutely wonderful seeing her,  and made me think about the protégé relationship.

Having an amazing protégé must be like having a Padawan,  but more analytics,  less light sabers. (for a good explanation,  see wookiepedia…seriously.  Yeah I couldn’t make that up if I tried)

When your protégé passes you on the ladder to success,  it is such a proud moment. 

I hope she gives back as well. 
I have only had a few protégé’s since I graduated from student to teacher,  so to speak,  and I hope they all experience the same levels of success.

Analytics drives business,  but relationships bring it home.

-That Planning Guy

Pricing Analytics in an F&B Environment

I have been thinking more and more about the pricing analytics that we are applying with great success in Retail and how it can be applied to a restaurant environment.   An item sold has similar attributes attached of location, unit, retail, and COGS. Why is it relevant that it’s a store? Couldn’t it just as easily be a restaurant or a bar?  In fact, the cross-brand analytics might even be more compelling.  Isn’t a Bud draft a Bud draft? Or soup a soup? (Varying costs, but like-for-like probably close?)  I will speculate below.

Lets get mathy, my fellow #datanerds!

Say a Miller draft costs $1.00 and sells for $5.00 in your restaurant.  (I made that up, of course. I would hope the cost is lower, but I don’t know so I like a round number.) You are selling 100 per day at this price.

What’s the break point of different elasticity?  How much can we drop units at each price point and grow profit, and hopefully revenue as well?



To me, the safest bet above is the $5.50 test.  The most likely outcome is the scenario #2, which is  .9 elasticity, resulting in a slight revenue pick up, but a 2.4% profit increase.

Couldn’t this apply just as easily to food? My first inclination is to test deserts. But conversely, I am thinking about a lower price to drive units (I know… that’s where my head is too.)  Let’s assume a cannoli costs $2.00 and retails for $7.00.  What scenario and grid would be the likely outcome?


Again, the pricing signal, with all things being true, would point to a $6.00 price test, and likely the middle scenario: +$28 topline, $12 bottom line. And, 8 happier people.

IF.. and it is a big if.. we could raise a beer, and lower a desert, resulting in a higher total check and increase profit, that’s win- win.   Also, higher cover means higher tips, so happier servers. Win-Win-Win.

In the food space, I would be really curious to apply t0 an add-on menu: Adding items to a pizza costs $2.00, adding cheese to a burger is $1.00, adding a side of turkey bacon to breakfast is $4.00 and so on.  I’d love to see how these pencil out in real-time, both up and down.  How elastic are add-ons? Maybe a 3/$5 deal on a pizza? It seems like add-ons are zero ‘overhead’ and are true incremental pick up -minus COGS of course which I suspect are low, considering.  A slice of cheese for a dollar- that has to be 90+margin. These seem like huge margin drivers….Shouldn’t we be maximize units? (and creating the perception of value?)

Once we can apply this to a bigger scale, and have a few thousand data points to determine best outcomes, the math – and break point- should become self-evident. They  likely vary by location, by region, by geography.   And numbers don’t lie.  I imagine in a large-scale F&B environment the math should justify whatever price-management tools are needed.  BWW? Applebees? Chilis?  Even the neighborhood pizza place.

Analytics Drives Business.

-That Planning Guy

PS- A beer and a cannoli for dinner? Hope there is a calzone in between!

Next Speaking Engagement~

Short message tonight…

This week I will be at this event:

Looks to be a great event- very looking forward to it!

And, Chicago is a great place.  Last trip was a lot of fun. And Deep Dish Pizza.

-That Planning Guy

Upcoming Events

A few events to mention this week….
First, this Thursday, 5/12 – a LIVE WebX!
We’ll be talking about one of my favorite topics, PRICING! Hosted by Joe Skorupa from RIS News (@risnewsinsights), the panel includes the amazing Sahir Anand from EKN (@sahiranand, @EKNResearch) and Cheryl Sullivan from Revionics (@Revionics) who know a thing or two about pricing analytics!
Should be a great discussion!

Register here:


Then next week, Road Trip!  LIVE in Chicago! Very excited to participate in a Innovation Enterprise event! Incredible line up of speakers and some just-added compelling panels!

Who’s in?
-That Planning Guy